Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Getting back to normal

My recovery from surgery is going very well.  I've been off of the prescription pain meds since the 4th day after surgery, and at this point, I just need ibuprofen a few times a day.  The biggest thing I have to watch for is not doing too much.  Since I feel pretty good, I sometimes forget that my insides are still needing to heal and push things a bit too much.   I'm still having to follow the restrictions of no lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk, walking for exercise only, and try to avoid bending down as much as possible.

My doctor did clear me to go back and teach one of my FC classes on-campus this week. It went well, and it was nice to get back to normal a bit.  I was a bit apprehensive before the class since my identity for the last 7-8 months has been more cancer patient than teacher, even though I was still teaching online, but once I was there I wondered why I'd been a bit nervous.

I started my aromatase inhibitor(AI)  last week, and so far, I haven't had any side effects or anything from it. They will check my tumor markers in mid-March and  then again in May along with a scan.  I will stay on this medicine as long as it works.   I've been asked what that means a few times so I figure that I should explain.  Being my stage, I will be on some type of medicine the rest of my life.  As long as this medicine keeps me stable where I am or gives me a regression (what we hope it will do), I will stay on it.  If at some point, I have a progression again of cancer anywhere then they will know that it has stopped working effectively for me, and we will try another AI, chemo, etc. to try for regression or stabilization again.   Our goal and hope is to get many years out of this medicine, but if not,  my MO has said that there are a number of other AI's  along with other medicines that we can try.

I have been so thankful for all of  your prayers.  If you would still pray that my recovery continues to go well and that this medicine works to give me many years stable or preferably with a regression to no evidence of disease, I would really appreciate it!  Have a good week!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Surgery went well

The surgery this morning went well, and they were able to do it robotic laporascopically. I am thankful for that as it means a slightly reduced recovery time compared to having it open.  Hopefully, I will get to go home on Wednesday sometime.  Resting is so much easier in your own house where they aren't coming in every hour or so to give medications or check vitals.  I'm actually feeling pretty good, but I don't want to jinx myself too much as day 2or 3 after surgery are normally more down days.

We did have a bit of unwanted excitement today.  My mom & I had left our actual bags in the trunk of her car so that they could be gotten once I was in a room.  The car was valeted, and nothing was inside the car to entice anyone.  When dad went down to get our things, only some of it was in the trunk.  Mom's c-pap machine was taken and my bag.  I can understand why they took mom's c-pap bag as it could be mistaken for a camera bag or something like that.  They are going to be disappointed with what it actually is, and they will definitely be disappointed with my clothes, medicines, toiletries, and make-up.   It isn't that any of my stuff was that expensive. It  will just be a hassle to try to replace them while recovering from surgery, and some of the things were originally paid for by health insurance so I don't know what will happen there.    At least things can be replaced, and there wasn't any damage to the car.

 I think my most recent pain medicine may be starting to kick in so I'm going to try to get to sleep before the next time that they come in to poke & prod, lol.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Petscan Results

You have to smile when your doctor makes a point of saying "the results are good" when they pass you in the hallway before your appointment.  I got my petscan results, and everything has decreased.  My first pet said that there were 7-10 lesions; the second pet said that there were 3 individual lesions and 1 area of confluent lesions (multiple lesions that are merged together) .  This time the word lesion was never used on the results just the term focus.  My doctor says that is a good sign that they are no longer seeing a significant mass in each place.   There are no new lesions or areas of cancer, which is wonderful!  We still can't tell sizing, but the uptake (SUV - how brightly it lit up)  for each area did the following:
* posterior dome focus went from 5.6 down to 3.6
* left lobe lesion which had an suv of 4.5 is GONE!!!
* confluent lesions in right lobe went from 6.1 down to 4.3
* inferior left lobe focus went from 5.2 down to 3.2

The liver is a metabolically active organ so its normal uptake is between 2-3, and dying cells are more metabolically active. So the two areas that are in the 3's are so close to normal that we hope they will be be going away with the other soon.  While not dancing with NED (no evidence of disease) yet, I can't help but be thrilled with these results.  At stage 4, you are happy with staying stable and seeing no progression; so seeing regression is like icing on the cake.

We are going to repeat tumor markers again on Monday when I get my port accessed for my surgery just so that we have a post-chemo baseline.  My surgery is Tuesday 2/5, and then I will begin an aromatase inhibitor which will  block the enzyme that the  adrenal glands, fat, etc. use to produce estrogen.  These types of medicine can also shrink areas of cancer, but they work a little slower than chemo.  After seeing my oncologist every two weeks, it feels a little weird to know that it will be 6 weeks before the next appointment, but that will give me time to get used to the new medicine and for it to begin to work.   We'll do tumor markers again at that appointment, and she said we'll wait about 3 months or so to do the next petscan.  

That is my good news and next plan of action! I am so glad that things are still moving in the right direction, and am very thankful for all of the thoughts and prayers for these tests.  Please keep them coming as I move into this next stage of treatment.  They mean more than I can express!